a melanin ice woman melting in musical heat; she’s muted Miles
microphning under a magenta light; she’s Lady Lester levitating under a
full moon; she’s Black frost burning on a slow cool breeze; she’s
sister-sicle singing songs of spirit with lyrics of life.
On Friday, October 27,
at Brooklyn Heights’ Church of St. Ann’s and the Holy Trinity, the
“Face the Music” program of “Arts at St. Ann’s” officially
opened their season series with the sultry stylings of jazz singer
innumerable influences from Hatshepsut to Miles Davis, she is a folk
singer with a blues ear, a blues singer with a jazz ear, and a jazz singer
Her sound is
circular, an acoustic corridor of continuous curves.
There are no edges, just endless expression; there are no angles,
just artistic approaches.
Wilson, who commenced composing
at the tender age of 12, presented a program featuring four of her
original works: “Red Bone,” “Find Him,” “Memphis,” and “Warm
however, with the spellbinding “Strange Fruit” and later included the
song “I’m so Lonesome I Could Cry.”
The spell that was cast with the Billie Holiday classic “Strange
Fruit” was never removed.
Under the music directorship of
bassist Lonnie Plaxico, the six-member band consisted of what was
tantamount to a double trio: on the one hand, there was the conventional
acoustic piano, bass, and drums; on the other, electric piano, violin and
At times, Wilson
herself augmented the accompaniment with guitar. Wilson moved the material from the melodious to the
mellifluous, from the opulent to the intimate.
Even the blues became an excursion into the ethereal while
remaining candid to its character.
At the close of the concert,
the capacity crowd in the spacious church exploded into extended applause
which slowly escalated into a cadence-clapping call for an encore.
Eventually, one half of the band methodically returned: first, the
acoustic pianist, then the bassist and drummer.
Magically, the crowd collectively metamorphosized into a massive
ear sculpture of still life.
Wilson returned and commenced singing the standard “Autumn in New
This was Wilson in
the ballad tradition of trio-backed singers, venting voices without nets.
Wilson’s voice emerged from
the dimly lit stage and expanded into a nocturnal presence presiding over
She sang of autumn,
and the temperature dropped in synchronization with the silent syncopation
of lyrical leaves descending in a distant park.
From the poplar trees of a
pernicious South to the torch song trees of Tin Pan Alley, Wilson wove her
way through time, space, theme, and experience while weaving a spell that
continues beyond the concert and into the consciousness.
GEORGE EDWARD TAIT
Name: NEW YORK AMSTERDAM NEWS